MADD Honors Legislators Who Got It Right in 2015

A great deal of what Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) does involves bringing legislators around to their point of view – that drunk driving is a preventable crime, and enlightened laws are one of the ways to prevent it.

Massachusetts State Senator James Timilty Receives award from MADD Program Manager Mary Kate DePamphilis (photo:

Recently MADD presented its Legislator of the Year Awards to those lawmakers who have done the most to make the nation’s roadways safer by advocating ignition interlocks and other measures to take drunk drivers off the roads. All in all, 70 senators and representatives received commendations for their work. Among them:


This year Texas became the 25th state to require all DUI offenders to use ignition interlocks. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. The honorees included representatives Jason Villalba and Senfronia Thompson, Speaker Joe Straus and Senator Joan Huffman. All-offender interlock laws are considered one of the vital elements of a state’s anti-drunk driving program.


Thanks in part to the work of Representative Dennis Keene and Senator Morgan McGarvey, repeat DUI offenders and certain other offenders (such as child endangerment and high-blood-alcohol) in Kentucky must now have ignition interlocks installed in their vehicles.


MADD honored Iowa Representative Sandy Salmon, whose bill – HB 186 – which would create an all-offender interlock law in her state.


legislator-of-the-year-MADD-awardFour counties in California are running a crucial ignition interlock pilot program. Senator Jerry Hill wrote a bill which extends the pilot program until July 2017. Hopes are high that the whole state will follow suit once the pilot proves its effectiveness.

All in all, there were 70 lawmakers honored from more than 20 states. Our thanks to these champions of road safety, and to MADD for giving them the shout-out they deserve.